Bloopers that make us love Kaley Cuoco even more

Kaley Cuoco is barely 30, but she's a seasoned veteran of the screen. After appearances as a child on shows like Northern Exposure, My So-Called Life, and Ellen, she won lead roles as a teenager on sitcoms such as Ladies Man and 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. She joined the cast of Charmed in 2005 before moving on to the role that would make her very famous and very rich: Penny, the initially bubbly but increasingly cynical girl next door on CBS's long-running mega-hit The Big Bang Theory. Cuoco parlayed her success and the visibility of that show into a burgeoning career in comedy films, including The Wedding Ringer, Why Him?, and Hop, but to millions, she'll always be Penny, even after The Big Bang Theory ends in 2019. Here are some of the funniest examples of Cuoco goofing off and messing around on the set of some of her most notable projects.

When things are popping

In a ninth season episode of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon gets a melody stuck in his head and desperately tries to figure out what it is before it drives him mad, and his efforts only serve to drive Sheldon and Penny equally crazy. Penny suggests he distract himself… so he makes a video for "Crazy Future Sheldon," whose brain was turned into "a sack of parrots and monkeys" by the unsolvable ear worm. He starts the explanatory video for himself with some footage of Penny. The video camera stays trained on Cuoco, in character as Penny munching on a bag of microwave popcorn while lounging in a chair. She keeps eating the popcorn… and eating the popcorn… and sneering. Cuoco sticks with it until the audience laughs and cheers, breaking her concentration on the weird ad-lib.

In another take, the camera stays on Sheldon, who makes a wisecrack about Penny. That's when Cuoco lobs a piece of popcorn into the frame, and right into actor Jim Parsons' face, which makes him laugh and spoil the take.

Oh, high!

Kaley Cuoco and most of her Big Bang Theory castmates are experienced sitcom pros. Through her time on 8 Simples Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter and Johnny Galecki's long stint on Roseanne alone, they've honed their comic timing over hundreds of episodes of television to the point where they can nail a joke with just the right pauses and holding for laughs even on an improvised quip that follows a line flub.

As the script in this season three episode was written, Penny (Cuoco) was supposed to react to a comment from Leonard (Johnny Galecki) by sarcastically asking, "Are you high?" She delivers it, but Galecki stumbles over his follow-up line. The director re-sets the scene, gives instructions on from where to start over, and Cuoco asks Galecki, not Leonard, "Are you high?" Then karma strikes — Cuoco messes up her next line, and Galecki implies that she's the one who's inebriated.

Hey, don't flub shame

Hey everybody messes up a line once in a while. Humans are imperfect creatures, even the glamorous actors we've collectively decided are the most perfect specimens among us. Acting isn't shoveling coal, but it's a tough job with its own challenges, like memorizing lines and then saying them out loud, in the correct order, with the proper intonation. And sometimes actors have to carry props, which can only complicate things.

Who understands the challenges of an actor better than other actors? They really ought to cut a scene partner some slack when they mess up a line, especially on a show like The Big Bang Theory, with its verbose, rapid-fire dialogue. And it should especially be true for Kaley Cuoco, who, as proven here, completely messes up the occasional bit of Penny's dialogue. When Melissa Rauch (Bernadette) does it, Cuoco subtly "shames" her for it, calling her (or her mistake) "cute." Okay, she's probably mock shaming her for it, proven by her comic outburst, "Not okay anymore, Melissa!"

Highly illogical

The Big Bang Theory is an example of "geek culture" while also being steeped in it. Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, the rest embody traditional "nerd" stereotypes, such as being heavily into science-fiction, fantasy, and comic books. These characters unsurprisingly hold the Star Trek franchise in high esteem. Sheldon invents a Rock-Paper-Scissors variant called "Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock," the gang tries to attend a fan convention dressed in Star Trek costumes, and Star Trek: The Next Generation star Wil Wheaton recurs on the show, playing a version of himself. One would think that all of that Star Trek stuff constantly in the script, or on the set, would have forced its way into Kaley Cuoco's brain. 

In this blooper from the fourth season, Penny helps Sheldon work on a script based on a Star Trek fan-fiction story he wrote as a child. Penny reads the role of Spock, and she's required to make the famous "Vulcan salute" made famous by Spock portrayer Leonard Nimoy in the 1960s. Cuoco had somehow never seen the gesture, because instead of holding her hand up with two fingers going one way, and he other two going another, she holds up a flat palm.

The balls in her court

The Big Bang Theory is a show about research scientists working at the highest level of their profession who spend their free time devouring science fiction. The result: A lot of really difficult dialogue for the actors, loaded with technical and difficult-to-pronounce words. But sometimes, it's the easiest words that slip up the stars. In this blooper, Kaley Cuoco stumbles over a word she probably has to say more than any other in the line of duty: "Leonard," the name of her character's neighbor, then boyfriend, then husband. The actress gets flustered and lets out some frustration with a quickly uttered "balls!"

Cuoco's blooper then grows infectious, as co-star Jim Parsons can't get through the next part of the scene without fudging his own dialogue. That's when Simon Helberg (Howard) brings it all back home to Cuoco's moderately appropriate near-profanity of the day, suggesting to Parsons that the word he meant to say was "balls."

Chip, chip, hooray!

For a performer, the body is an instrument, and one they must keep finely tuned. But unlike, say, a concert violinist and their expensive musical instrument, who can control their sound through proper maintenance and storage, the human body has a lot of variables. An actor can only eat so many mild foods and do so many breathing exercises, because the body is eventually going to react to whatever the actor fed it earlier that day at lunch, at the craft services table, or the prop food that that's probably best avoided because it can just get in the way of capturing a good take. This is what happened in this blooper from a tenth season episode of The Big Bang Theory. Kaley Cuoco apparently stifles a little belch or some mild gastrointestinal discomfort… and blames it on the chips that her character is supposed to be eating with her husband (Leonard, played by Johnny Galecki). It's some quick-witted improv and a nice cover to a minorly embarrassing situation, and it delights the studio audience.

Please don't eat the wifi

On The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon and Leonard work at CalTech, a prestigious research and educational institution, and presumably earn a decent living. In the early seasons of the show, Penny makes ends meet waitressing at the Cheesecake Factory while pursuing her dream of being an actress. Scrappy Penny subsequently exploits her proximity to the guys by helping herself to their food as well as their wifi, apparently an open secret between neighbors of which Penny is not ashamed and Leonard happily allows because he's more generous than Sheldon and is also in love with Penny. 

In this fifth season episode of Big Bang, Penny casually enters the guys' apartment to get the new Wi-Fi password, as Sheldon has presumably changed it (again) to deny her free internet access. Indeed he has, Sheldon says, as the new password is the passive-aggressive "PennyAlreadyEatsOurFoodSheCanPayForWiFi." Undeterred, Penny quips, "If you can't get me to stop eating your food, what makes you think you can get me to stop eating your wifi?" Cuoco immediately recognizes her slip-up — one doesn't eat internet access.

Sometimes all you can do is carb load

There are a lot of eating scenes on The Big Bang Theory. In the early seasons of the show, there'd be at least one scene during which all or most of the characters would gather around in Sheldon and Leonard's apartment for a weeknight dinner of Chinese takeout or some other fast food bounty. It's such an integral part of the show that there's a running a gag about how Penny never pays for her food, and either Sheldon or Leonard (before they were married and shared a checking account) covered her costs. In this scene from the fifth season of Big Bang, Penny (Cuoco) enjoys a homemade meal for once, and in her apartment with Sheldon (Jim Parsons), of all people. Over a big plate of spaghetti, Parsons fumbles with his difficult and obtuse Sheldon dialogue, quietly ends the take, and looks to a member of the crew for further instructions. Cuoco, meanwhile, plays the nonchalant moment into a way to get a laugh from the studio audience and to get a few bites of what's obviously a very nice pasta dish. "It's okay," she says, "this tastes so good." And then she takes a huge bite.

One simple rule for getting teased by John Ritter

The 2002-05 ABC sitcom 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenager Daughter was Kaley Cuoco's first major role on a successful show. She portrayed the slightly rebellious and independent Bridget Hennessy, bristling against the strict rules of her strict and befuddled father, portrayed by beloved TV icon John Ritter. The series was a vehicle for the Three's Company star and his first major TV project in over a decade, so 8 Simple Rules was kind of "his" show, but the young Cuoco certainly held her own in her scenes with him. The kid-vs.-adult struggle at the center of the show becomes comically real in this blooper from the first season. Cuoco enters the set — the family living room — complaining about a boyfriend's potentially bad gift choices, emphasized with some of that barely verbal scoffing that represents a universal language for teenagers. Ritter then teases Cuoco (and her character), imitating, repeating, and exaggerating those scoffs with some broad facial expressions. Cuoco can at least laugh it off.

One simple rule for teasing John Ritter

Yes, one can rib Kaley Cuoco on a sitcom set, but the actress shall have her revenge! She can dish out a little co-star teasing just as well as she can endure it. She's not even the least bit intimidated by an actor of significant stature, such as the great John Ritter, not even when she was relatively new to Hollywood. 

On the set of 8 Simple Rules, Cuoco finds her mark, leaning against a vending machine, and gets into character for a scene… which can't really start until Ritter walks onto the stage. But he's not too brisk about it, prompting Cuoco to loudly clear her throat and call out, "Ritter! Action!" Cuoco makes herself laugh, and Ritter finally emerges, thanks to Cuoco's assertive call-out. His facial expression speaks volumes — he seems surprised, amused, and impressed with the playing-to-the-audience moxie she'd later perfect on the set of The Big Bang Theory.